We just had a wonderfully successful week at Woodworking in America in Cincinnati. I taught on “How to Bring Life to Leaves” and “Linenfold”. My husband, Stephen, came with me. I find it fascinating that I can comfortably teach 40 or 50 complete strangers, but if my husband is in the room, I get all flustered and nervous. Why is that??? He actually was a great help, and after I got over my anxiety of having him there, everything went fine. There were those first few minutes of being self-conscious, but then I had to get on with it – and, well, basically ignore him and pretend he wasn’t there (poor guy). I am glad I got past that issue because now I am much more comfortable with him being invovled in my teaching. But why was there even an issue? Why would I get nervous about having the person who knows me best see me in my “natural” environment, doing what I love to do? Maybe it’s the fear of critique. Maybe it’s just an irrational anxiety that can’t be explained?
I was not able to see much of the other demos, but was able to sit in on a few. One in particular that was fascinating was a round-table discussion about online schools and woodworking forums that involved 9 prominent people who run some very popular forums and successful online woodworking schools. The “round-table” discussion went over many topics and it was interesting to hear how everyone got started, the struggles they had, and the reasons they decided to start a forum or school. Ultimately, everyone’s desire on these websites is to have discussions, learn from a variety of woodworkers out there, and teach – either by video, audio, or written blog. With the technology moving along as it is, the most amazing information can be shared, and it is great to see that so many people are willing to offer advice (both the hosts and the guests), share their knowledge, and just be available for both those who are starting out in woodworking and those who have made woodworking their life.
Here is the list of participants in this round-table discussion:
Ellis Walentine, host of WoodCentral. The guys from WoodTalk Online – Matt Vanderlist, Marc Spagluolo (also has an onIine woodworking school called the Wood Whisperer), , and Shannon Rogers (also has an online school called the Renaissance Woodworker). Then there was Wilber Pan who has a forum about Japanese woodworking tools and techniques called Giant Cypress. Steve Schuler (I may have gotten his name wrong) of Woodnet. Then there were 3 from the Modern Woodworkers Association, Chris Adkens, Dyame Plotke, and Tom Iavino. Check out their forums and woodworking schools – you could get lost for weeks or months (or more) soaking up the knowledge – and please participate! These cannot be successful unless people get involved.
I had a great time making leaves flip and twist, and also showing the linenfold carving techniques. I hope I got people inspired to try carving. There were many people I have spoken to and told me they are wanting to carve, but that it just seems too difficult. I hope that by showing what can be done this past weekend, I was able to motivate some to simply take a chisel in hand and start.
I also got to see my buddy, Roy Underhill, but was not able to sit in on any of his talks. Doing a demo in the room next to Roy is always a daunting experience, and this is exactly what happened last weekend. My quiet slicing of wood, with maybe an occasional tapping with the mallet is often interrupted with the massive pounding, hollering, and intermittent hoots of laughter from the room next door. I was afraid people were going to start saying “wow – that sounds like they’re having a lot of fun next door – I wonder when I can sneak out without being noticed…” In Roy’s shadow…
We filmed another show last spring, and it should start showing up on PBS stations. I am pretty sure it is also available for viewing on their website.
Off to go play in my shop and work on the nativity scene than needs to be finished way too soon. Happy Carving!